Totally agree with your notes on the gameplay. There's a ton of improvements and bugs that people have pointed out, all good stuff!
I haven't played ItB, I'll have to check it out.
In terms of the theme, we were coming from the direction of 'what if you played chess except you only had one piece, while the enemy was fully stacked against you?'. In earlier versions of the concept, the enemy tiles were represented as mindless golems, where the player was the single live soul, bouncing between vessels (this is why as the player you swap your control between tiles rather than simply swapping places with them). Obviously this idea got obfuscated a bit by the time constraints, as it always is :u.
Nonetheless, thank you for the detailed critique, and for playing our game!